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The AthenaeumMore Than Just Another London Club$
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Michael Wheeler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300246773

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300246773.001.0001

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Croker’s London

Croker’s London

Chapter:
(p.11) 1 Croker’s London
Source:
The Athenaeum
Author(s):

Michael Wheeler

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300246773.003.0002

This chapter focuses on the founder of the Athenæum, John Wilson Croker. Croker created a new kind of club, which had no political affiliation, which chose its members on the basis of achievements rather than birth, and which was to benefit from the rapid rise of an expanding middle class. Croker knew about clubs, and he also knew literary, scientific, and artistic London better than most. Many of the Athenæum's 'original' members, as those elected in the first year or so were called, moved in the same political and intellectual circles, in the House of Commons and the Admiralty, at John Murray's publishing house and the Royal Institution, among the book shops of St James's, at the learned societies in Somerset House off the Strand, at soirées in private houses, or at the Union Club in Waterloo Place. The chapter visits these centres of activity in the years after Wellington's victory at Waterloo in 1815, a victory that established Great Britain as the leading European power which ruled over the largest empire the world had ever known. In this way, one can see what Croker meant when he referred to 'these times' as being propitious for the formation of a new London club.

Keywords:   Athenæum, John Wilson Croker, London, London club, political circles, intellectual circles, Waterloo, Great Britain

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